Thursday, October 13, 2011
Patriots rack up 468 yards in win over AAA Pillow
By BARRY BURLESON
The Marshall Academy Patriots did not let their first loss of the season get them down.
Instead Class AA Marshall rebounded from a setback to North Delta and completed a sweep of Class AAA squads this season by whipping Pillow Academy 35-21. The win at home Friday night upped the Pats’ record to 7-1.
“I could tell on Monday (of last week) that their attitude was where it needed to be,” coach Barrett Donahoe said. “They were not going to let that loss define their season.
“We recharged and came out with no fear and did a great job against a big Pillow team. It was a big win for us. We’re 3-0 against AAA teams.”
The Marshall offense produced 468 yards. Kevin Fitzpatrick was 14 of 20 passing for 225 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Aaron McAlexander caught 10 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns. Chase Ferrell and Fitzpatrick both rushed for more than 100 yards – Ferrell 107 and Fitzpatrick 106.
“As an offensive football team, we seem to really be hitting our stride,” Donahoe said. “The offense did a great job.”
The Patriot defense held the Mustangs to 275 yards – 171 rushing and 104 through the air. Tyler Cook led the way with 14 tackles and also caused a fumble. Getting 11 each were Ferrell, Neil Murphy and Matt Rappa. Evan Hickman had eight tackles and caused a fumble. McAlexander had seven tackles and an interception. Others picking up big plays were Zack Pritchett with a sack, Fitzpatrick with a fumble recovery and Trey Johnson with an interception.
“Defensively, we struggled at times, but we got better as the game went along and we made some big stops,” Donahoe said.
The Patriots went up 8-0 in the opening quarter when Fitzpatrick connected with McAlexander twice – once for a 32-yard touchdown and then for the two-point conversion.
The Mustangs answered in two plays to cut it to 8-7.
With 6:28 to go in the first, a Pillow defender picked off a pass in the end zone, stepped out and then was tackled back in the end zone for a safety. MA led 10-7.
Two minutes later the Pats scored on a 27-yard pass play from Fitzpatrick to McAlexander. Kicker Andy Burleson split the uprights with the extra point.
Midway through the second quarter, the Mustangs scored on a fourth-and-goal play from the 2. The kick cut the visitors’ deficit to 17-14.
The Patriot defense stepped up the rest of the quarter – later stopping Pillow on a fourth-down try and then Hickman making a big hit to force a fumble with Fitzpatrick recovering.
With 42 seconds to go until halftime, Fitzpatrick threw to McAlexander for a 37-yard touchdown. The point-after kick missed the mark. MA’s lead was 23-14.
Johnson kept the momentum on Marshall’s side to start the second half when he picked off a pass and returned it 23 yards into Pillow territory.
Four plays later, Fitzpatrick sped down the right sideline for 19 yards and six points. A try-for-two failed.
Pillow responded with a 10-play drive for its last points of the evening. The Pats were on top 29-21 with 4:24 to go in the third.
MA then had perhaps its most important drive of the night – eating clock with 10 plays of its own. Ferrell scored from 5 yards out. The extra-point kick was not successful.
The Marshall defense continued to rise to the occasion – halting Pillow twice more on fourth down attempts; then McAlexander intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the game.
The Pats punted just once in the game, that coming in the fourth quarter.
Both Donahoe and assistant coach Bart Jenkins are former coaches at Pillow.
“That win was absolutely awesome,” an emotional Jenkins told the Patriots huddled with him at midfield after the game.
The Patriots have an open date this Friday night before hosting Potts Camp Friday night, Oct. 21, in an historic, first-ever football matchup between the two schools in Marshall County.
“We’re going back to practice – working on the fundamentals, blocking and tackling,” Donahoe said. “We have to get better.”
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